Lizard Canary: 15 Facts You Won't Believe!

Lizard canaries are named after the lizard-like scales that run across their back and breast.

Lizard canaries are incredible canaries that make lovely pets and can be bred in cages and aviaries. So what gives it the strange name to the lizard canary? The reason would fascinate you. They are adorned with dark crescent-shaped spots all over their back and breast. This wonderful pattern of marks bears a resemblance to the scales of a lizard, thus gifting its name lizard canary. This visual effect is known as spangling. Lizard canaries are essentially bred for these spangling effects rather than their color or call.

What is more exciting is that as these little birds experience their annual molt, that is when they shed their feathers annually, they lose their lizard-like markings. Hence, the lizard pattern is best shown in its initial years. Are you keen on knowing about this pretty little lizard canary and other rare breeds? Read ahead to know remarkable facts about the lizard canaries.

For more relatable content, check out these Savannah sparrow facts and eastern kingbird facts for kids.

Lizard Canary

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Seeds, greens

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

3 to 6 eggs, one per day

How much do they weigh?


How long are they?

5.5 in (14 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Blue, red, gold, and silver

Skin Type


What are their main threats?

Humans, falcons, pythons

What is their conservation status?

Not Evaluated

Where you'll find them

Orchards, copses, bushes







Scientific Name

Serinus canaria (Parent species)





Lizard Canary Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a lizard canary?

The lizard canary is a small bird and is one of the oldest breeds of canaries.

What class of animal does a lizard canary belong to?

Lizard canaries are tiny birds that belong to the class Aves and genus Serinus.

How many lizard canaries are there in the world?

Lizard canaries are among the oldest known canaries originating from a mutation of canaries in France, around five hundred years back. However, the destruction caused by the first and the second world wars and the disease epidemics left the lizard canary close to extinction, and very few birds survived. Thanks to the reestablishment efforts by the Lizard Canary Association of Great Britain, this unique species of canary, lizard canary, has managed to survive. The breeding programs monitored by the association have enabled these birds to thrive. Today, it remains one of the popular canaries, bred for the incredible spangling effects of its feathers.

Where does a lizard canary live?

Researchers believe that the lizard canary originated in France. Having survived a harrowing past during the World Wars, today, it stands as one of the popular type canaries that bird breeders look for.

What is a lizard canary's habitat?

Copses and orchards are the most suitable habitat for the lizard canary. These birds make their nests in trees and bushes. However, they may also be found in artificial ecosystems such as gardens or parks.

Who do lizard canaries live with?

Lizard canaries are generally social beings and adapt well with other canaries and finches. However, these birds are pretty timid, and hence it is not best to allow them with more aggressive cage mates such as hookbills, lovebirds, or parakeets. However, the idea of two male lizard canaries in the same cage is a strict no-no as they are territorial birds and tend to attack each other.

How long does a lizard canary live?

Generally, canaries are pet birds that have a longer life expectancy. Under the proper care of lizard canary breeders, a healthy diet, and suitable housing, these birds can survive up to 25 years. However, commonly they live up to 15 to 20 years. Unfortunately, very little is known about the longevity of lizard canary in specific, and it requires further study about the bird species.

How do they reproduce?

As a free breeder, the lizard canary breeds the best when provided with a proper diet and housing. The hen birds lay three to six eggs, one per day, in their nests. Please note that it is best to allow two clutches per hen in a year. A full cap (clear cap or non-cap) lizard canary is generally preferred over a broken cap. Lizard canaries are typically bred for the scale pattern on their back and breast, which appears like the scales of a lizard. This visual effect is known as spangling. The breeding season of canaries generally begins with the onset of spring.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the lizard canary is unknown. However, other canary species such as the Atlantic canary or the Island canary falls under the category of Least Concern as per The International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.

Lizard Canary Fun Facts

What do lizard canaries look like?

Lizard canary facts- they are one of the oldest species of canaries.
*Please note that this is an image of Serinus canaria, the parent species of the lizard canary. If you have an image of a lizard canary, please let us know at

The lizard canary, one of the oldest species of the canaries, are little birds with an average length of 5.5 in ( 14 cm). These types of canaries have dark crescent-shaped marks uniformly run over their back and the breast, which looks similar to that of the scales of a lizard. This scale pattern on its body gives the canary its name, the lizard canary. However, they lose these scales during the annual molt. Therefore, the lizard pattern is best seen in the initial years.

The lizard canaries are usually found in four colors: the silver (warm buff) lizards, the gold lizards, the blue lizards, and the red lizards.

Please note the cap of the lizard canaries, which is one of the most distinguishing features of the little bird. These caps are circular markings of feathers on top of their head, which are oval or irregular-shaped circles marked by clear edges. The feathers on the cap are in complete contrast with its body, stretch across the eye, and are complete at the rear side of the head.

These irregular-shaped feathers on top can be of varying nature. The caps of the bird can be either a full cap, clear cap or a non-cap, or a broken cap. They also have clear edges. Breeders prefer a full cap lizard canary to a broken cap.

How cute are they?

The lizard canaries are adorable little birds found in shades of gold, silver, red, and blue. They are lovely pet bird species known for their lizard-like scale pattern on their back and breast. Breeders are fond of their song and bright colors, in shades of gold, silver, red and blue, making them sought-after pet birds that adorn the breeder's cage.

How do they communicate?

The canaries communicate through melodic, soft calls. The males of the lizard canary sing to find their mates. They are territorial bird species, and they mark their territory by their call.

How big is a lizard canary?

The lizard canaries are about 5.5 in (14 cm) long, including their tail. It is double the length of the bee hummingbird, which is one of the smallest birds.

How fast can a lizard canary fly?

The actual speed of lizard canaries is not defined. However, they are known to be pretty swift in movement.

How much does a lizard canary weigh?

The exact weight of the lizard canary is not available. However, the similar species Atlantic canary weighs around 0.1-0.5 lb (8.5 - 24 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

No specific names are given to the male and female species of lizard canaries. However, a female bird is generally referred to as a hen and a male bird is referred to as a cock.

What would you call a baby lizard canary?

The baby lizard canaries are called chicks. The chicks take two to three weeks to become feathery and become independent.

What do they eat?

Lizard canaries are primarily fed rapeseeds or canary seeds. Sometimes they are color fed to boost their red plumage. Canaries' health can suffer when fed with commercial color supplements. Instead, breeders must choose beta carotene-rich natural supplements such as chopped broccoli or grated carrots that are healthier.

Are they poisonous?

There is no evidence to point out that lizard canaries are poisonous.

Would they make a good pet?

Lizard canaries make good pets. They are required to be placed in large aviaries or cage spaces with mixed breeds of canaries and finches so that they enjoy the playful chatter. However, it is not a good idea to place these little birds with parrots and cockatiels in the same cage.

Breeding of the species is sought after by bird keepers. The little canary is a free breeder. The lizard canary female will lay three to six eggs, one per day when provided with proper diet and housing. Lizard canaries are available for a price ranging from $50 to $150.

Did you know...

The lizard canary was introduced in France around five centuries ago. It was almost close to extinction around World War times in the early 20th century. However, with the efforts of the Lizard Canary Association of Great Britain, today, these birds are thriving.

What is unique about a lizard canary?

The scale pattern on the body of the lizard canary has a strange resemblance to the scales of a lizard, which makes it a unique species. The lizard canary colors, gold, silver, red and blue, also add to its uniqueness.

Is the lizard canary endangered?

The conservation status of the lizard canary is not known. However, Atlantic canary, a similar bird species, falls under the category of Least Concern, based on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Though they were close to extinction in the 20th century, today, these canaries thrive, thanks to the reestablishment efforts and planned breeding undertaken.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Amazon parrot facts and northern parula facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable bird coloring pages.

*Please note that the main image is of a Serinus canaria, the parent species of the lizard canary. If you have an image of a lizard canary, please let us know at



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